We celebrate National Educational Support Professionals Day every year on the Wednesday during American Education Week, falling on November 16 this year. The National Education Association Representative Assembly established this day to honor the education support professionals who work day in and day out for public schools’ well-being and effective functioning. These professionals also play a vital role in forming a healthy community as they help students inside and outside the classroom. There are nine services under the Education Support Professionals umbrella, including clerical, custodial and maintenance, food, health and student, para-educators, security, skilled trades, technical, and transportation services.
History of National Educational Support Professionals Day
Educational Support Professionals Day was established to honor and recognize the contributions of Education Support Professionals (ESPs) to public education institutions. It takes place during American Education Week, a week-long program of holidays and celebrations to honor the ESPs. The National Education Association (NEA) founded the day in the U.S.
The NEA was first established in 1857 but was initially called the National Teachers Association (NTA). It was formed by the coming together of 10 state education associations to unite their efforts and resources and help better provide for students through an effective public education model. In 1870, the NTA changed its name to National Education Association or NEA.
The Association recognized ESPs as playing a significant role in public education and allowed them to access full membership rights in the NEA in the 1980s. In 1987, the NEA Representative Assembly announced its initiative to declare a special day to celebrate and honor the contributions of the educational support staff at public schools. The announcement led to the celebration of National Education Support Personnel Day, which became a recurring annual celebration.
The name ‘National Education Support Personnel Day’ changed to National Educational Support Professionals Day in 2002 to give the support staff the much-deserved respect and dignity for the professional work they do to ensure our public schools run effortlessly and that learning happens.
National Educational Support Professionals Day timeline
Representatives from 10 state education associations come together to provide an effective public education system.
The National Teachers Association undergoes a name change and becomes the National Education Association.
The NEA Representative Assembly announces its initiative to dedicate a special day to ESPs.
The name ‘National Education Support Personnel Day’ becomes National Educational Support Professionals Day to better define the ESPs’ roles as professional workers.
National Educational Support Professionals Day FAQs
What are the benefits of joining the NEA?
By joining the NEA, you ensure improved working and learning conditions at schools. It also helps you be part of many community projects.
Which is the largest teachers union?
The National Education Union in Europe is the largest teachers union with over 450,000 members.
How many NEA members are there?
The NEA has 3 million members, including academic and non-academic professionals who work in schools and higher education institutions.
How To Celebrate National Educational Support Professionals Day
Many people might not know this day exists! You can use social media to spread awareness about this day.
Thank your local ESP
Delivering a word of gratitude to your local school support staff will show that you recognize their efforts. If you’re an educator, you can also make your students give them thank you cards.
Lend a hand
Working as an ESP at a public school with hundreds of children is no easy feat. If you see any of them in need of assistance, make sure to help them out.
5 Facts About Educational Support Professionals
ESPs care about our safety
78% of K-12 ESPs are responsible for ensuring that students and staff are safe.
94% of food services ESPs are female
A majority of the support staff that works at the cafeteria in public schools are female.
ESPs work with special education students
Around 84% of para-educator ESPs work with students with special education needs.
Most ESPs live in the school district
Around 71% of K-12 ESPs live in the same community as the school where they work.
ESPs are committed to their jobs
Most ESPs (61%) have stated that they would remain in their current professions until retirement.
Why National Educational Support Professionals Day is Important
ESPs are a school’s support system
Schools cannot function without the help of their support professionals, and they form the very backbone of the school.
To honor their efforts
It is crucial to celebrate and honor the ESPs who work for the students every day because their services keep the school running.
To recognize them as equal stakeholders
We celebrate this day to announce to the world that ESPs share equal status as other stakeholders, and they are as important as any other academic staff at the schools.
National Educational Support Professionals Day dates